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Circuit Breaker

Unlike US, Samsung isn’t (yet) bricking the Note 7 in Europe

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But the next update will limit the battery to just 30 percent of original capacity

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James Bareham / The Verge

Moments after announcing an upcoming software update that will brick remaining Note 7s in the United States by permanently stopping them from charging, Samsung revealed it’s taking a slightly different strategy for customers in Europe. An update planned for release on December 15th across EU regions will reduce the Note 7’s maximum battery capacity to just 30 percent of its original charge.

Samsung previously limited the Note 7’s battery to 60 percent, a move that it claims “helped to drive a high rate of return.” To date, Samsung says over 90 percent of Note 7s have been returned as part of the recall program. The phone also displays constant notices and warnings about the device’s safety risk. And in many areas, the Note 7 is no longer able to connect with cellular networks.

But to see Samsung take this split approach — render the Note 7 totally inoperable for the US, but leave it partially functional in Europe — is a little strange. It’s possible there could be regulations meant to safeguard consumers that prevent a company from basically destroying its own product, but that’s not yet clear. Samsung declined to comment on whether it eventually plans to hit the software update kill switch in Europe with something similar to what US Note 7s will receive beginning in 10 days.